I was speaking to a client of mine the other day who regularly travels away for work. A typical journey he makes with us is early in the morning, from his home, to the train station, then in the evening, or the next day we will pick him up from the train station and take him home again. Quiet often he is there and back in the same day, usually travelling to Liverpool from Cardiff for a meeting, and then back home again. He spends virtually the whole day travelling, for a meeting that often is only a couple of hours. This is something I have come across time and time again. In fact I once had a client who I picked up from Cardiff Central Train Station. She had come down from Birmingham for a meeting, which she expected to take no more than 45 minutes, then was getting the train back to Birmingham! She told me, that she had once gone all the way from London to Newcastle for a 45 min meeting, before turning round and going back again.
When speaking to my client, about his regular short visits to Liverpool, I told him we would be more than happy to take him to Liverpool, wait for him, and bring him home afterwards. His response, was that while this would make his life so much easier, he works in the public sector, and therefore he has to use the cheapest form of transport, i.e Trains. That is a fair and reasonable reason I agreed. Especially in these economically tumultuous times, and thought nothing more of it. Until later in the day that is, when I got thinking about it again. He gets the train as it is more cost effective, was his statement, but is it?
So I decided to investigate further. We normally pick him up in the early hours of the morning, so he can get the train in time to be in Liverpool around 09:00. According to Trainline.com his Train Ticket would cost him around £78, with the return ticket about the same. So he is spending £156 on train tickets alone. That’s before his taxi fares. That is £15 each way for us, plus what ever he is spending on Taxi’s in Liverpool to get from Lime Street to the venue of his meeting, and back to Lime Street again. Conceivably another £10-£20 each way. Door to door, round trip my client is spending £226-£246 (dependant on the how much the taxi in Liverpool is) To do so, he is also travelling 1 hour back and forth between his home and Cardiff Central, 4 hours on the train, and possibly another hour back and forth between Liverpool Lime Street and the venue. 10 hours travelling, multiple modes of transport, up to 5 receipts for his expenses, and a fair bit of waiting round for various trains and taxi’s
So what is the alternative then? We believe Business could streamline their expense accounts, have less receipts to record and keep track off, and be more time efficient, and in some cases, even save money with our Wait & Return Service. With this, our driver will pick up the client, drive them directly to their meeting, wait for them, and return them back, with a massive 75% discount on the return journey. For our client who regularly travels to Liverpool, this is how it would break down for a 2 hour meeting;
Home to Meeting £280
2 Hour Wait £45
Total = £420
It costs £180 more is what I am hearing people scream, how is that better! True in this example the actual outlay is higher, however the travelling time is reduced by 2 hours, giving the client an extra 2 hours to do other work, or relax. How much is 2 hours worth to you and your company?
This is just the cost for one person travelling however. If two people are travelling on the the train together, then you have two lots of receipts to handle, double the cost of the train tickets, and extra taxis at one end to pay for. So lets look at the costs of two people travelling to Liverpool.
Taxis to Cardiff Central Station – 2 x £15 = £30.00. Return train to Liverpool – 2 x £156 = £312.00 Taxi from Liverpool Lime Street to Venue and back – £30.00. Taxi from Cardiff Central Station to home – 2 x £15.00. Total cost £402
While our Wait & Return Service would still remain in the £420 region. £18 more, for 2 hours saved.
If they wished the client could work in the vehicle travelling to and from the meeting, without having to be interrupted to pack things up to change trains, taxi’s etc. The client also has total privacy and peace, allowing them to get on with work. Perhaps most importantly however, is the fact that you can run to YOUR schedule, not that of the train companies. The Train schedules could be mean that you arrive an hour or 2 before the meeting, or have to wait around for the same amount of time after the meeting, purely because the times the trains run. When you factor into the equation the actual time saved travelling, the time potentially saved simply by not having to wait. the time saved processing one invoice vs multiple receipts, all of a sudden the extra amount is not much at all, when you look at how much you save, what you could gain.
Our Wait & Return Service for a 3 hour meeting in Birmingham would cost around £260, compared with around £200 per person return by train including taxis. London for a 3 hour meeting would be approximately £330, compared with £250-£300 per person by train and taxis.
If, like my client, you did this journey 4 times a month, and saved 2 hours each time, you have effectively gained yourself a whole extra working day per month. What is an extra day a month worth to you?
This post was previously posted on LinkedIn in February 2019. Train Prices may have gone up or down since the article was originally written. The prices for all train tickets mentioned are for standard return tickets for the following day. Prices mentioned for Personal Class Travel are for Standard Vehicles with a capacity of 4 passengers, and are just guide prices. Actual prices would depend on the actual pick up and destination as well as any other pick ups or drop offs en route, as well as the category of vehicle being booked. Please contact us with your requirements for an accurate quote